5 Steps to Ensure a Successful Enterprise Architecture Management Tool Adoption

This is the last in a three (3) part series discussing a Buyer’s Guide to help select the right Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) tool for your organization.

Once you purchase and install your tool, you still need to ensure your EA organization and relevant stakeholders adopt it to realize its myriad of benefits. Tool adoptions can quickly get stuck or outright fail due to some common pitfalls, for example:

  • Absence of a proper communication and an implementation plan
  • Misalignment of the tools capabilities to stakeholder strategy and operational needs
  • Over customizing the metamodel
  • Lack of the specialized talent needed to drive the implementation and adoption
  • Fully understanding this is a critical technology and a operational process change activity.

Avoiding these challenges isn’t easy, but they are critical to the successful implementation of an EAM tool. In this post, we’ll focus on five key activities that will help you push beyond these obstacles and ensure a successful EAM tool adoption:

  1. UNDERSTAND YOUR ENVIRONEMENT: By understanding your day-to-day processes and how architecture metadata is used to support your EA organization, you will see where and how to use the tool to accelerate productivity, increase quality, and support more stakeholder demands.  
  2. CONVERT CAPABILITIES TO SERVICE TAXONOMY: The EAM tool should provide you with the core capabilities to perform your work.  By classifying the tool’s capabilities into Service Taxonomy your implementation stays focused on its value proposition. Here is a list of capabilities every EAM tool should have. If you have others please drop me an email jgehring@smart360.biz

Administration covers the capabilities to organize and manage the lifecycle of the architecture content (metadata), to manage the user roles and their access to content in the EAM tool repository.

Analysis covers all the capabilities to actively understand and analyze the architecture content. This capability can span a gamut of services, such as:  

  • Browse, search, and query content in the repository to provide targeted information.
  • Structural analysis to identify gaps, redundancies, and the impacts and interrelationships of making a change to a business capability, a project, an application, or technology in the architecture.
  • Quantitative analysis to compare measurable attributes or properties of the architecture content, like health, criticality, cost, and utilization.

Decision Support covers all the capabilities to aggregate architecture content and create visualizations, reports, and dashboards for different stakeholders and support decision-making. This includes monitoring and viewing the architecture from different perspectives and to increase collaboration and communications to certain stakeholders.

Governance covers the capabilities to govern the architecture, such as:

  • Quality management ensures the completeness and consistency of the architecture content. This includes the sources of entry and the population of the architecture repository from automated population (XML or CMDB) or manual entry and structure of content according to a framework (e.g., TOGAF) or both.
  • Change management to define architecture content and execute requests to alter, retire or eliminate content, such as compliance and technical standards, blueprints, assets, etc.
  • Usage management traces and monitors the architecture content by users and can provide architecture management metrics to establish trends, show cost and risk reductions, etc.
  1. BUILD A COMMUNITY: You provide services so be a good service manager.  Track the highs and lows experienced by your user community and eengage with end-users early and often.  Use a social media approach (internal Facebook or similar platform) to establish a community of users (and power users).  You can deal with problems quickly and users feel a sense of ownership, commitment and accountability helping you achieve high adoption rates.
  2. PLAN, COMMUNICATE and MANGE EXPECTATIONS: Implementing and adopting any new technology requires and a strong communications plan and change management across all relevant stakeholders.  Use a disciplined approach to plan, communicate, and manage the implementation and expectations.  Help users understand how the tool and new business processes will enable them to take full advantage of the tool and realize specific benefits related to their architecture roles.
  3. BUILD the BEST TEAM: It’s no secret that a really successful implementation often lies within the human elements of a good team.  The most successful adoptions are companies who build a small Center of Excellence (CoE) with a team of architecture expertise around the tool.  Also providing for on-demand support helps to meet short-term capacity needs as stakeholders begin seeing the value of the tool.  A dedicated team of tool experts helps you manage business, financial, and technical risk over the short and long-term for your tool adoption.

The benefits of and EAM tool are attainable if the implementation is linked to its value proposition and is properly planned for and expectations are clearly set and managed. Following these steps will help put you on the road to a successful adoption. Enjoy the journey!

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